New Grad, New Priorities . . . New Me

24 10 2010

My priorities have completely changed and I’ve only been a college graduate for six months. Where my biggest concern used to be which fraternity our sorority’s next mixer was with, or if I was going to be able to get a table at the library, nowadays I’m more worried about if I remembered to set my DVR to record all of my favorite television shows. I barely even watched TV in my four years at Pitt and now I have a bevy of shows each night that are a “must-see”.

Instead of going out 3-4 nights a week I am interning 3 days a week and going to class 3 nights a week. Sunday through Thursday I am staying at my sister’s place in New York City and Friday through Sunday I usually come back to New Jersey to stay with my parents. I practically live out of a suitcase. I have also been picking up some odd jobs here and there to make some extra money on the side. Between work, class, homework, and the sleep I try to fit in between, I am lucky if I get to go out one night a week anymore. But I finally have something I am working toward and after four years of partying and no worries I feel that I have no right to complain.

In just six months I have gone from a care-free college student to a woman on a mission. Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself. But then I do something like take the wrong subway, end up in Queens, and I am once again reminded of the long way I still have to go.

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22 or 12? That is the Question.

2 08 2010

Since moving back home in May I have been having somewhat of an identity crisis. I find myself fighting to keep my independence as a capable 22-year-old college grad, while at the same time struggling not to retract back to the simpler times of age 12.

After quitting my job as a retail salesperson to pursue my greater goal of a career in book editing, I have returned to a daily cycle of sleeping in, applying to jobs, spending the rest of my day going to the beach and/or playing with my dogs, followed by staying up late watching Friends DVDs. Occasionally I will venture out of this daily ritual to meet my friends for a night out in AC, Philly or NYC. However most of my stories tend to start with, “So I was hanging out with Bogie and Chip. . .” (Bogie and Chip are my two dogs’ names).

Living with my parents has only helped spin me further into the downward spiral that is now my life. I have gone from fending for my own meals three times a day to getting healthy and delicious home-cooked meals most nights of the week. The most I’ve had to do for a meal since graduation is set the table. I find myself giving an attitude if my mom asks me to do anything more. I don’t even know why I do it. It’s more of an innate reaction. You want me to scoop my own ice cream? ARE YOU CRAZY WOMAN?! DO YOU KNOW HOW HEAVY THAT SPOON IS?

I recently changed my student checking account over to a regular joint checking and savings account. My mom’s name was taken off the account and now I am solely the only one responsible for the money inside it. Big step, I know. When the man who was helping me set up my “Big Girl” account asked if I wanted to get the overdraft-security feature I was grateful for his thoughtfulness.

While away at school there have been several occasions where I have gotten the dreaded phone call from my father screaming at me about all the overdraft fees I had collected the month before. After the second time “I didn’t know,” and “Sorry Daddy,” just didn’t cut it. Now I will no longer have to fear the wrath of my father when his name pops up on the caller ID. Although this also means I will have to be more aware of the goings-on in my account, because I won’t have him to bail me out. Facing the parents or responsibility for my own actions? I have yet to figure out which I prefer.

Since I refuse to carry around a checkbook and write down my every transaction — for fear of losing interest in the act altogether and because I simply see it as a waste of time — I have conveniently added the mobile online banking app to my iPhone and signed up for an online banking account on my computer as well. So far I have been quite successful in not obtaining any overdraft fees, and I have even managed to collect some savings, as well. Aw. Look at me, growing up so fast.

Of course, I made my mom come with me to the bank. But in my defense, I knew I wouldn’t understand all of the bank language and I did not want to get taken for a ride. I mean, you don’t just go in to a dealership by yourself when you’re buying your first car, do you? No! Those salespeople will eat you alive.

Suffice to say, I still have a lot of growing up to do. And while living at home with my parents might help slow down the process a bit, I am fortunate to have two great parents to fall back on. I am lucky that they put up with my acting like a 12-year-old when I don’t feel like dealing with the realities that being 22 brings. But believe me, they are pretty good at giving me a kick in the back when I am getting on their nerves, and hopefully one of these days their threats that I’ll be living on the street soon won’t become a reality. Or else, I’ll just be moving in with my sister who has an apartment in NYC.